A historic landmark centuries ago, the Seneca Indians discovered this natural landmark in the Valley of Karoondinha (Penn’s Valley). The famous legend of the Indian Maiden, Nitanee, from whom the famous Penn State Nittany Lion is named, and her French trapper lover, Malachi Boyer, has been told around campfires for generations. Unable to marry because of Indian custom, they ran away and were captured, and Malachi was thrown into Penn's Cave to die. Local history also tells of Indians and early explorers using the dry rooms for shelter. In 1885, Penn's Cave was opened as a commercial show cavern. That same year, the Penn's Cave Hotel was built. In 1976, Penn's Cave and the Penn's Cave House were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Years Gone By
Upper Left: Visitors from the summer of 1945 await the return of the tour boat.
Upper Right: Passengers on a tour boat from 1932 view the famous "Statue of Liberty" formation inside Penn's Cave.
Lower Left: The original stairs and dock entrance to the cave, taken in 1889.
Lower Right: Another view of the dock, circa 1905
Penn’s Cave House
The Historic Penn's Cave House, formally a 30 room hotel, was built in 1885. The original structure was shaped in an "L" design. In 1908, two young brothers, Henry Clay Campbell and Robert Perly Campbell, purchased the cavern and farm property from John Herman of Pleasant Gap. Robert, his wife, Edith, and their children lived in the hotel, where they hosted overnight guests until 1919. From 1920 to 1929, only meals were served to cavern guests, while the building continued to be used as the ticket center and gift shop. In 1938, the North Wing was removed, allowing the current three story (plus attic) rectangular shaped building to remain. A more contemporary single story addition was later constructed in the 1960's. In 1980, it became strictly a private residence after the current Visitor’s Center was built. Today, the first and second floors of the Penn's Cave House are used for corporate offices, private meetings and special events.